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Initiative will help achieve shared growth

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-06 10:34

Tourists visit the Mogao Grottoes, a scenic spot in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu province, April 13, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Why do Western commentators look at China's Belt and Road Initiative with Cold War prejudice, calling it a modern-day version of the US-initiated Marshall Plan for rebuilding European economies after World War II, or the 19th century Great Game, in which Britain and Russia battled for control in Central Asia?

To begin with, these claims are the result of a zero-sum mentality. Some don't trust China's strategic motivation, arguing the initiative is a geopolitical tool to assert its regional leadership and establish a new sphere of influence. Others resist the China-led initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, for fear of losing their clout in the global financial system.

But, while doing so, the skeptics fail to see the fact that China has never had a zero-sum mentality. Instead, it believes in and encourages win-win thinking. As Confucius said: "He who wants success should enable others to succeed."

China's initiative is for the benefit of all. Building upon the spirit of the two ancient routes, the Belt and Road Initiative is a transnational network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa with the aim of promoting common development for all the countries involved.

Unlike the Marshall Plan, no political conditions have been imposed on the economies along the two routes for participating in the initiative. And China has always said countries should respect each other's rights to independently choose their own social systems and development paths.

While Western European countries had little say in the implementation of the Marshall Plan, China is stepping up policy consultation with its partners. Based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit, China and its partners are fast improving their road connections, trade and investment facilitation, monetary circulation and understanding.

Openness, inclusiveness and mutual benefit are the hallmarks of the initiative and the source of the strong support it has garnered.

Since 2013, more than 100 countries and international organizations have responded positively to the initiative, and nearly 50 inter-governmental agreements of cooperation have been signed. And in March, New Zealand became the first developed Western country to join the initiative.

Concrete and targeted projects under the framework, which are consistent with local demands, have been rolled out to facilitate economic development, with Chinese companies investing more than $50 billion and building 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in 20 countries along the routes, which have created 180,000 local jobs.

How has the Chinese approach reaped such an early harvest despite the sluggish global economic recovery, flagging international trade and rising anti-globalization sentiments? The key lies in abandoning power politics, hegemonism and shunning the zero-sum game, while replacing them with cooperation, partnership and sharing.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which embodies responsibility, win-win cooperation and genuine pursuit of common development, offers the world a Chinese answer to the challenges of today in the form of balanced, equitable and inclusive development.

Living in a close-knit community of shared future, we have no choice but to abandon the Cold War mentality, and redouble our efforts to develop global connectivity, in order to enable all countries to achieve inter-connected growth and share the prosperity.

-Xinhua News Agency


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